A fraction less plastic.
July 18, 2011

My family had a very positive weekend on the plastic-free front.  We purged our house of plastic Tupperware and replaced them with BPA-free glassware.

Almost.  We left a couple larger plastic pieces, but will eliminate those as soon as we pick up comparable glass pieces.  And the glass pieces all have BPA-free plastic lids, so my master plan is to use organic cotton cloth and rubberbands (or dish towels and string for larger containers) over the tops as frequently as possible.

My next project with regards to living plastic-free is to tackle plastic bags.  Does anybody have recommendations for lining trash cans?  Our family does not produce very much trash - and we are beginning to recycle and compost more frequently which further reduces out trash output - but right now the trash we do generate is contained in bins lined with plastic bags.  I’d like to find a better way of doing things but I have no idea where to begin!

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  1. By on July 18, 2011

    This is really vague because I can’t remember the details - but I know recently I saw an ad for compostable garbage bags.  Sorry but I can’t remember the brand or anything else about them - just caught my eye that they were compostable.  They are out there somewhere!

  2. By Ashley on July 18, 2011

    Yes, there are compostable bags, but they often don’t hold-up well under pressure. My grandmother always lined her garbage cans with paper grocery bags. Is that an option for you?

  3. By on July 18, 2011

    Our city doesn’t allow trash in anything but plastic bags. I bought a small trashcan for the kitchen. It was designed to use the plastic bags they give you in the grocery store.

      If you have time, instead of using rubber bands to hold the cotton lids on your containers, sew a tunnel at the edge of the fabric and thread some elastic through, sort of like a shower cat. It will be easier to take on and off.

  4. By erin on July 18, 2011

    Can you just put the garbage straight in the can without a liner?  And then rinse the can when you take the trash out?  And/or maybe use a diaper pail liner that you can dump and wash.  Does your community require trash be bagged or will the pick it up loose?

    Biodegradeable ones are usually made from corn. :(

  5. By erin on July 18, 2011

    PS, funny that you post this today because I was just thinking about this yesterday… I was googling around for non-glass alternatives to Tupperware.  (Stainless steel lunch containers!!!)  I was thinking how much I’d love to be plastic-free, but how to deal with the trash we inevitably generate.  We fill up less than one 13-gal bag per week (but we completely fill out two recycling cans and our huge compost can) but that’s still one plastic bag per week.

  6. By on July 18, 2011

    We have a trash thingy in the kitchen that uses those plastic bags from the grocery store too ( http://www.amazon.com/Cabinet-Mount-Trash-System-Silver/dp/B000INDOXY ). Which was great for using up the plastic bags that had accumulated. But I have been so good about remembering to take my reusable bags to the store recently that we nearly ran out. So then I purposefully didn’t take the reusable bags a couple of times and felt really guilty. So if you find something that works, I would be very interested in that!

  7. By on July 18, 2011

    I tackled my kitchen about a month ago. Got about 95% of the plastic out. Purchased new water bottles, bowls, measuring cups, Tupperware, etc.

    There was a period of time when I didn’t use trashbags. Our recycling collection didn’t require it, so I thought I’d give it a whirl with trash…. I must say it was gross… And smelly. I ended up having to toss my trash cans and buy new because it got so gross (it doesn’t help that I was In the first trimester of pregnancy and the smell of anything was repulsive)... Good luck finding an alternative, can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

  8. By on July 18, 2011

    OH MY GOSH, you guys, I have no idea about city ordinances.  Seriously, that hadn’t even occurred to me.  And I’m not positive that my family could go entirely trash-free.  With a bit of work, we could probably come close, but hmmm… I’ll have to think about this a bit and figure out the logistics of everything.


  9. By Taryn on July 18, 2011

    If your city will pick up unbagged garbage, what about using diaper wet bags? If they can handle poopy diapers, they should hold up well in the kitchen! And then I guess you’d need to dump the garbage into something else for pick-up. I’d also love to hear what you come up with!

  10. By Alicia S. on July 20, 2011

    My husband drives a garbage truck and I was surprised to hear him say that a number of people toss their garbage out bagless—but he said they dread doing those houses more than anything else because of how repulsive it is. And these are trash men! Lol—I don’t imagine the group of them are very easily repulsed :-P

  11. By Cynthia Krajcarski on July 20, 2011

    We used all of our shopping bags in our kitchen trash can (every other trash bin is bagless) until they were gone. Now we have no plastic bags and we just empty our kitchen trash into a large green garbage bag—Our city requires our garbage to be bagged. We compost, so the garbage doesn’t get smelly, there are never any organics in it.

    We also use mesh produce bags, so there are no plastic bags coming into this house. Unfortunately, almost ALL of the organic food we buy comes packaged in clamshell containers, and our city doesn’t accept that plastic for recycling. So most of our trash is packaging from food. It sucks—We’re thinking of leaving the packaging at the store. Maybe if enough people do that, they’ll get pissed off enough and make their suppliers change their ways.

  12. By on July 21, 2011

    Our trash men don’t touch the trash cans. They have forks on their trucks that pick it up and empty the can. As a result our city requirement are much more lax - these guys don’t even get out of the truck. Even our recycling is encouraged to be bagless - but they do streamline recycling so it all goes in one can unseperated and gets sorted at the recycling facility.

  13. By Shauna on August 01, 2011

    My entire life my mother has used paper sacks (the kind that you bag groceries in) for the trash.  Non-plastic, but not entirely sustainable either…

    Thanks for jumping on the plastic free band wagon & sharing the trip with us.  Your encouragement it encouraging, it’s a very challenging road to travel and one that I am slowly moving toward…





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